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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Ambulance on the road? Delhi doesn't care

Durga M Sengupta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 15, 2014
First Published: 10:11 IST(15/7/2014) | Last Updated: 14:21 IST(15/7/2014)

An ambulance is alerted of an emergency and its driver has to reach his assigned location within 10 minutes. But he simply can't because of a car blocking his way.

In a social media experiment shot on the streets of New Delhi and published on actor-producer Varun Pruthi's (ActorVarunPruthi) YouTube channel, an ambulance driver shows us how insensitive Indians can be to a patient during an emergency.

How many times have you heard a friend or relative say, "Chhod yaar, faltu laal batti jala rakhi hai. Andar koi patient vatient nahi hai. Chal tu."? (Ignore, they've just turned on the emergency light and there's no patient in it.)

May be you did encounter one ambulance driver who did that for no reason.

Or maybe, he really was trying to fetch a patient who just had a heart attack, and because you were missing the first ten minutes of your movie, someone, somewhere died.

"I have observed how people react to ambulances in Delhi," says Pruthi.

"We blame the streets, the police, the law, but we never stop ourselves from blocking the way."

"We always look like we're in a rush. How much education does one need? It's a simple thing!" he exclaims.

The experiment was conducted 'live', he says.

"I approached a hospital in Karol Bagh. They were very helpful and provided me the ambulance and driver you see in the video. We went around the city shooting things as they happened."

When asked if anyone gave way to the ambulance, Pruthi said no.

"Not even a single person (helped). I'd be more than happy to show a person helping. Unfortunately no such luck."

Why do Indians feel the constant need to incovenience others just to be ahead of them? How many times people just crowd around an accident site, not to help, but to watch and block all the traffic?

Giving way in such situations is a good idea because an ambulance cannot wade through the human pool of morbid curiosity.

The problem, says Pruthi, lies in how easily Indians can get their driver's license.

"People don't feel responsible on the streets. The only solution is to place cameras in ambulances and to start sending tickets (fines) to those who don't give way."

The video compares Delhi roads with those in the developed countries.

"You go to Australia, Canada, UK. Tell me of one country (developed) where they don't follow it (giving right of way)?" asks Pruthi.

Indians follow rules once they go to these countries, he adds.

From the driver of the car which was parked in such a way that it was blocking the ambulance in the video, to the scooter driver who refuses to move away, have you stopped to think that you might be in that very ambulance one day?

Maybe it's time to start giving right of way to ambulances.

For once, you might save a life.


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